Grieving mum’s viral video spreads word on sepsis danger

Kinderling News & Features

Warning: this emotional video may distress some viewers

Megan Mead is a mother in the UK who lost her one year old son William in December 2014 to sepsis.

Earlier this week, she produced this heart-breaking video in an attempt to raise awareness of sepsis. Amazingly, the message has spread around the world and been viewed over ten million times already.

As Megan points out, lots of people don’t even know what sepsis is, even though it’s incredibly common. So Kinderling Conversation spoke with an award-winning sepsis expert Marcia Ingles from the University of Newcastle. Marcia is also a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Belmont Hospital in NSW.

Here's the key things you need to know:

  • Sepsis is more common than people are aware. In Australia and New Zealand, 15,000 people every year are admitted to intensive care units in septic shock.

  • Research has shown that the high number of cases is due to a lack of awareness, both among medical professionals and the general public.

  • Sepsis is an overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection. This could be from anything from a cut or a urinary tract infection.

  • While anyone can develop sepsis, the elderly, very young, pregnant and already sick are more at risk.

  • Warning signs are a wound that won’t heal, and your child gets very sick very quickly. An illness or cold when your child doesn’t get over for a long time. Kids who have a fever but don’t respond to paracetamol or ibuprofen, they may have cool hands or feet, breathing may be more rapid and shallow, and their heart rate may increase.

    Ultimately Marcia Ingles says that parents know their child best, so if you are worried about your child, make sure you take them to your local GP or local emergency.

  • If a professional doesn’t seem concerned but you’re sure there’s something wrong, Marcia says to ask whether the illness could be sepsis, then it’s up to the medical professional to prove that your child doesn’t have sepsis.

  • Timing is paramount for successful treatment. Treatment includes antibiotics and intravenous fluids. Then a child should be transferred to a specialist pediatric department.

  • If you’d like to know more about sepsis, you can read more on the links below: 
    :: Marcia Ingles talking about sepsis
    Clinical Excellence Commission in NSW
    :: The Global Sepsis Alliance
    :: UK Sepsis Trust